Describe the rise of the Ottoman Empire and the way in which it organized its rule over a multicultural empire. 

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The Ottoman Empire had its origins as a small frontier state located on the border between the Islamic World and the Byzantine Empire. It was able to consolidate power and gradually expand, with perhaps the key turning point being the year 1453, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople. From here, they...

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The Ottoman Empire had its origins as a small frontier state located on the border between the Islamic World and the Byzantine Empire. It was able to consolidate power and gradually expand, with perhaps the key turning point being the year 1453, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople. From here, they would continue to expand further into Eastern Europe and also across the Middle East.

One of the key strategies by which the Sultans were able to maintain their power and authority can be found in the employment of the devshirme, a manpower tax exacted on Christian communities. Taken as slaves of the Sultan, Christian children were educated and converted to Islam in order to form the core of the Empire's military, bureaucratic, and administrative elite. In essence, then, the devshirme provided a ruling class for whom power, wealth, and prestige would have rested entirely on the continued favor of the Sultan.

In addition, the Ottomans also granted a great deal of autonomy to the various non-Muslim religious communities over which they ruled, a practice that would have greatly reduced the risk of rebellion. So long as order was maintained and taxes were paid, the Ottomans maintained a policy of religious toleration and left Jewish and Christian populations under the authority of their own religious and communal leaders (leaders who themselves would have answered to the Ottomans). This served as another tool by which the Ottomans were able to maintain stability across so large an expanse.

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